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Mitch Perry Report for 4.27.16 – Time for Hillsborough BOCC to make a decision

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously approved increasing what used to be call impact fees but are now dubbed mobility fees.

It’s actually a pretty big deal by itself, considering that they hadn’t done so since Ronald Reagan was still president. The fees are designed to have developers pay for the increase in construction to roads needed to handle the increased traffic.

Fees for home developers building a house that range between 1,500-2,500 square feet would rise from $1,792 currently to $4,967 in an urban area and $7,535 in a rural area.

Next up is a vote on the proposed, 30-year half-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects. You know, that whole “Go Hillsborough” thing.

As has been known for months, the only commissioner’s vote who is in question is Victor Crist.

Some say that Kevin Beckner is in that camp as well, but it would be a pretty big deal if he were to oppose the measure. What you might expect to see Beckner unveil tonight is his own preferred plan, which is to reduce the duration of the tax from 30 years to 10 (some say perhaps to just five years).

While he may have an ally in Sandy Murman, that measure is not going to pass. And it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, frankly. Proponents of this measure say that a smaller tax will persuade skeptics who don’t trust the county.

But what that fails to address is that most folks who are against a 30-year tax are also against a one-year tax. They don’t want to pay higher taxes. Period.

The safe vote is to allow the measure to go on the ballot, where there can be the entire summer and part of the fall for the community to decide whether this plan – clearly programed to get buy-in from the more conservative parts of the county outside of Tampa – deserves to be implemented.

It’s taken nearly six years for the BOCC to even get to this point after the Moving Hillsborough Forward transit tax went down to defeat in 2010. If the board fails to put the measure this year, it’s unlikely it will even come up for discussion until 2020.

The public hearing takes place tonight at the All Peoples Life Center at 6105 E Sleigh Avenue in Tampa at 6:00 p.m.

In other news..

The long awaited report from the Department of Justice regarding the Tampa Police Department’s bicycle citation program went public on Tuesday. The upshot? The TPD wasn’t discriminating against blacks when they cited them in disproportionate numbers, but it wasn’t very effective, either.

An advocacy group that has been targeting Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her position on payday loans is about to expand their efforts to include another Florida member of Congress, and they’re asking the public to tell them who that should be.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus’s PAC is endorsing Eric Lynn in the CD 13 contest.

With the heat soon about to come in the Tampa Bay area, Congresswoman Kathy Castor brought together some local health experts to talk about how to with the Zika virus.

Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s senate campaign spokeswoman had some harsh words for David Jolly for having the heretical GOP take that Supreme Court justice nominee Merrick Garland deserves a vote in the Senate.

And Rick Kriseman formally responded on Tuesday to Jack Latvala’s issue with him being “too parochial” by creating efforts on keeping the Rays in St. Petersburg, vs. all of Pinellas County.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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